It’s easier to find Cheryl’s Craftee Corner on Facebook than the actual site—the basement of her rural Weyerhaeuser home.
Remote as it might be, from there Cheryl Mancl’s inspiration takes the form of wreaths, centerpieces, angels and insects like dragonflies and butterflies—all made out of lightweight deco mesh.
Then she takes photos of them and posts them on her craft page for all the world to see, buy and enjoy through social media.
Her new hobby has taken wing after a couple years of tumult.
Her mother’s health took a turn for the worse, and she has since died.
Then the May 2017 tornado that went through Barron and Rusk counties damaged the roof on she and he husband Richard’s house and destroyed their garage.
“We couldn’t even live in the house for 5 months; we lived in the camper,” Mancl said.
She was an optician at Shopko’s vision center in Rice Lake but quit to help with the rebuilding project that they have just finished up this summer.
Fortunately they survived the fierce July 19 storm with no damage, although they were among many with a loss of power.
Mancl is also the mother of three grown daughters and likes to spend time with them and her 10 grandchildren—nine girls and one very outnumbered boy. With a basement full of craft supplies and a work table, Grandma Mancl has more than enough ways to keep them occupied.
“I’ve always had a dream of having Cheryl’s Craftee Corner,” she said.
This spring she made that dream a reality.
Her first foray into craft fairs occurred when she set up in a corner at Buck N Beam’s spring homemade vendors craft show on May 11. She tried it again during Camerama’s craft fair at Sportsman’s Park on June 1, and she gave it another go at Pioneer Village’s flea market on June 8.
At each event, Mancl learned a bit and sold a bit. Although Facebook is a great way for her to share her products, she has found it very helpful to have face-to-face contact with other vendors and customers. Already she has taken the feedback from several to come up with new creations like the insects and angels.
“All the money I’ve made, I’ve put right back into them. I think this is going to be my favorite thing. I want it to work. My dream is starting to come true.”
Wreaths: the circle of life
Although the crafter has had a lifelong love of art in many forms—crochet, macrame, painted ceramics, sketching—it took a push from her daughter Krista Robarge to get her started on this latest crafting craze.
“Me and my mom have always enjoyed doing crafty things together—crocheting, baking and now wreath making, said Robarge. “I saw some on Facebook and decided to give it a try, so I did some research and figured out how to do it. I then went to my mom’s house and showed her, and we decided to have a crafting day making these. So we went shopping for supplies and we had our day. Since then, she has learned more and experimented and succeeded. I, myself, have a full-time job and am a mom, so I don’t get to help her a whole lot, but I do what I can when I can.”
As a form of therapy apart from all the joys and sorrows that are a part of the circle of life, Mancl combined her ideas, tools and supplies—and now has many totes full of wreaths for every holiday and season of the year and many hobbies like fishing, hunting and sports.
She adds, “I still want to do a camping-themed one, and I love how the one I made with the buck turned out.”
Mancl has a pink ribbon one to support those going through cancer, and she has also made some for those who want remember loved ones at cemeteries.
She makes the wreathsin two sizes—14-inch and 9-inch. She puts a loop on the back of each one for hanging. The small size also makes a perfect centerpiece.
“I love making them, I do,” Mancl said. “I’ve seen so much improvement since I started. And Richard bought me a scroll saw so I can cut, sand and paint shapes—like an acorn, leaf, football, helmet, stars—to add to the wreaths.”
Angels to honor, memorialize
Mancl winged it and came up with angels to honor her mother and others who have lost their lives to cancer, are battling it or are survivors.
She explained, “My mother had multiple myeloma, and there are so many friends and family with cancer, so these mean the world to me and my heart.”
She showcased Chery’s Caring Cancer Angels, over the Fourth of July weekend at the Funny Farm flea market of Chetek. Each angel has a colored ribbon that correlates to a different type of cancer and a prayer is included with each purchase.
“They sold pretty well at the Funny Farm, and I even had to do some custom-made ones,” she said. “It was tough mastering them, but I am happy with them now.”
She has also expanded to making red, white and blue angels to support those who have and/or are serving in the military.
The angels sell for $8 each or two for $15.
Insects too cute to swat
Insects are another fun and carefree item she makes and will sell either with a clip or a stick.
She started with dragonflies and butterflies, which she sells for $3 each or two for $5.
“I will keep trying to do new things,” Mancl said.
“I am still waiting to figure out a ladybug and a bublee bee to go with my bugs.”
Mancl gave the first wreath she made to her husband’s boss and his wife, Jeff and Charlotte Antczak of Antczak Trucking of Weyerhaeuser. When other employees saw it, they asked Mancl to make wreaths for them with specific requests. One wanted a Mickey Mouse-themed wreath and the other a racing theme.
“She absolutely loved it,” said Tracy Patchen of Chetek of the custom-made, Disney-based wreath she ordered for a friend. “I fell in love with it, so I had to have her make one for myself.”
“This is spot on for the type of person who has everything, and they are hard to buy for,” said Karen Zebro of Bruce, who ordered a racing-themed one for a son and daughter-in-law.
On large custom-made orders, Mancl will send a photo of it to the customers to make sure it meets their approval.
“And I’m willing to try just about anything,” she said.
To contact her, call 715-642-0146, email email@example.com or like Cheryl’s Craftee Corner in groups on Facebook.